The cult of Mac has gotten a massive blow this past month as one of its tenants, “Macs don’t get viruses or malware”, was ripped to shreds with the advent of the Mac defender malware.   Mac Defender is a type of malware (also referred to a scare-ware or hijack ware) in which software is installed on the Macintosh device claiming to be a legitimate anti-virus software. It then claims to find, what in reality, are nonexistent problems, and offers to remove them if the victim pays money to remove the software.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Intego

This sort of malware is nothing new on Windows based PCs. In fact, Microsoft regularly releases malicious software removal tools and even provides a consumer based security solution, Microsoft security essentials, free of charge.  Apple has released some patches to address these malware. Sadly, within a day, variants of Mac Defender have emerged.

A recent poll conducted by Betanews.com found that 85.93% of windows users have some sort of anti-malware/anti -virus software.  This in contrast to the 82.72% of Mac users who do not have any sort of protection installed.  Other reputable news sites are coming out with similar statistics.  Tech site Ars Technica reports that some anonymous apple geniuses report that malware has gone up from .2 % of all issues to 5.8% of all issues in just the past month.  It seems that apple, with a growing user base, will now indeed have to deal with these sorts of issues.

The good news is that many major legitimate antivirus vendors have Mac versions of their products.   Industry leaders like Symantec , McAfee , as well as lesser know vendors like Avast and even Mac Only vendors like Intego all offer antivirus/malware solutions.  The key thing will be to train Mac users to understand that malware and viri will become a part of their daily computing lives and that they will have to take considerations and precautions just as regular windows users know all too much about.  Hopefully, the corporate culture at Apple will change to acknowledge that their platform, like any other computing platform requires some level of security consciousness.

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